Author: Jackie Connor
Although relatively new to the surf/action sports scene, Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) has rapidly made its way across the globe as a great activity where watermen and women can push body and mind to the limits, seek out new kinds of adventure, and, most importantly, log some much needed water time. Whether it’s cruising down a river, gliding over a glassy lake or catching a few waves in the ocean, SUP promises people from all walks of life and skill sets a lifetime of adventures, challenges and memories.
Check out our favorite sports across the globe that can do just that for you:
- Whistler, Canada
Surrounded by rivers and lakes, Whistler is known for much more than its touted ski/snowboard population. During the summertime, Whistler is a perfect spot for beginning SUPers to test their balance and navigate down mellow lakes and rivers. Surrounded by greenery, this calm and peaceful spot offers over 1,360 acres of parkland, including five lakes that dot the area. Between Lakes Alpha, Nita, Alta, Lost, and Green, the adventures are endless! To avoid frostbite, visit between April and October for amazing scenes of emerald green mountains and valleys that are accompanied by lakes.
- Lake Austin, Texas
Not only is Austin a mecca for live music, but it’s also home to many unique reservoirs, springs, lakes and rivers—each with their own personality. Lake Austin, a.k.a. ‘Town Lake,’ serves as a reservoir along the Colorado River and is used for electrical power generation, flood control and recreation. Highway Loop 360 spans the entire city and lake and, from the Pennybacker Bridge, will also give you a perfect view of all things Lake Austin. During the serious Texas heat of the summer, people head to the water to take in some Texas greenery, spy on Sandra Bullock and enjoy good times with friends. Don’t forget sunglasses, sunscreen and hats…and find yourself a good barbeque spot, too.
- Turks and Caicos Islands
If the obnoxiously beautiful turquoise water isn’t enough to lure you to Turks and Caicos, perhaps the idea that you can SUP around shipwrecks, around marshes and mangroves and even catch a few Caribbean waves, too, will pique your interest. Just north of the Dominican Republic, this archipelago of 40 small islands boast big adventures with warm beautiful water and world-class oceanic scenery equipped with sugar white sand beaches.
- Laguna Beach, California
Although summer time can be quite hectic for this spot, once you get your SUP in the water, you’re home free to an ocean of whales, dolphins, kelp forests and Garibaldi. This section of the ever-popular Orange County beach front holds many little nooks and crannies begging to be explored by Stand Up Paddlers. As some of the best water clarity Orange County and Southern California has to offer, Laguna Beach is also a marine sanctuary, so paddle lightly during your adventure.
- Black Canyon, Nevada
There is more to Nevada than Las Vegas, much more! Just outside of the duly dubbed ‘Sin City’ is a section of the Colorado River where SUPers alike can paddle downstream, through caves, around hot springs and also take in some breathtaking views of Black Canyon’s 600 foot walls. The name stems from the cliff’s steepness and makes it difficult for sunlight to penetrate to the bottom and, as a result, the canyon walls often appear black.
- Antarctic Peninsula
If you’ve got grapes of steel, a penchant for the cold and a very adventurous spirit, the Antarctic Peninsula is calling your name. Perhaps you tag along with a film crew from National Geographic or navigate your way onto a team of scientists interested in studying the Emperor Penguin. Hey, Weddell Seal pups are pretty cute, right? Around 98 percent of continental Antarctica is covered in ice and has extremely low temperatures and dryness, in addition to high solar radiation. If this spot is just begging to be SUP-ed, my hat is off to you. Just be sure to come prepared with lots of wetsuit rubber, hoods, booties, and an open adventurous mind. It has been done, folks.
- Bali, Indonesia
Aside from its popularity among the surfer crowd, Bali is also home to a great Stand Up Paddle opportunities. Whether you want to surf or cruise atop the colorful coral reefs, Bali has something for all types of SUPers. Many SUP schools and spots are located in Sanur, located on the southeastern side of Bali. Start your SUP adventure at sunrise, before the winds kick up. If you want to surf, head to Sindu Beach and paddle past the reef to ride some waves. For a more secluded adventure, head to Medewi, located on the northeastern side of Bali, where softer waves break over a flat rock bottom.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
If you appreciate the city life, a scenic tour through Amsterdam’s canals would be a picturesque trip to consider. A wetsuit is always necessary, depending on the time of year. If you plan to visit during the high traffic times, like April and May or September thru November, a thicker full wetsuit is necessary, just in case.
- Giant’s Causeway Coast, Northern Ireland
In the Ulster province, 40,000 interlocking basalt columns resulting from an ancient volcanic eruption are flanked by the wild North Atlantic Ocean and dramatic cliffside views. Also close to a popular surfing community, Giant’s Causeway offers a history of folklore tails, perhaps told best when on dry land unless you enjoy a challenging oceanic experience coupled with story. Summertime features calmer waters, but if you want to surf the emerald isle’s frigid and perfect waves, seek out a wintertime session.
- Kampot River, Cambodia
If adventure and eco-tourism is your bag, check out a trip down the Kampot River in Cambodia. Although the calm water is not crystal clear, sliding in and out of the mangroves, spotting yellow-cheeked Gibbon, exotic birds and colonial buildings before you eventually end at the Gulf of Thailand might be a considerable experience. If you’re in it for the long haul journey, be sure to pack a waterproof backpack with all of the essentials.
*Author: Jackie Connor, Travel Writer from San Clemente, CA.
Please check out her blog; http://confessionsofasurfergirl.com/